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Our View: Authorities can do no more over risky behaviour at Cape Greco

editorial
Photo: Christos Theodorides

There has been a lot of discussion in the past few weeks about Cape Greco and people diving from the beauty spot near the sea caves and how this could be prevented following a spate of injuries and rescues near the spot.

Having failed to dissuade anyone from diving from the cliff with signs saying it is prohibited, local authorities have now stationed someone there during the day after an inspection by the geological surveys department found the ground dangerous due to increased erosion.

So not only is is dangerous to jump from there, the ground could give way beneath someone just standing near the edge.

But none of it is having much of an effect. People are still diving, climbing down the rocks – and slipping – or perching on the edge and there is no penalty for ignoring the warning signs.

So far this year, there were two injuries. Both took place last month and required hospitalisation after they were rescued by the JRCC. The first concerned a 21-year-old British man and the second, which occurred a week ago, a Belgian tourist who fell on to solid rock.

Based on JRCC records, there are on average six to seven injuries at the site every year for the last decade or so. And the risk extends to those participating in rescue missions who are also putting their own lives in danger when they go to locate reckless swimmers.

So what can be done? Nothing. People have suggested closing the site or putting a fence or imposing fines. But to close the site or erect a fence would be a shame aesthetically. The Grand Canyon doesn’t have a fence, nor is it closed off even though on average three people fall into it every year due to risky behaviours, especially in the age of ‘selfies’.

People engage in risky behaviours all the time, skydiving, bungee jumping, climbing Everest, or other forms of extreme sports. The reason we impose penalties on some of these actions relate to the danger that may result to others, such as with speeding or drunk driving on the roads.

Taken to the extreme, banning or punishing all risky behaviours would be impossible. Even the most simple, everyday actions can constitute a risk, from crossing the road to getting on a plane even though these risks are a necessary part of life and we accept them as such.

People who think there is a danger of falling off a cliff generally don’t approach the edge. It’s just common sense, sadly something that a lot of young people have not yet mastered.

The local authorities in Ayia Napa have done all they can or should in the circumstances. There was one possibly useful suggestion by one of our commentators that perhaps people could also be warned that should they need rescuing, they would have to foot the bill, should they survive.

 

 

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